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The Courts Your Rights Online

UK Court Order Served Over Twitter, To Anonymous User Posing As Another 205

Posted by timothy
from the summon-our-powers-of-indignation dept.
SpuriousLogic spotted this story on the BBC, from which he excerpts: "The High Court has given permission for an injunction to be served via social-networking site Twitter. The order is to be served against an unknown Twitter user who anonymously posts to the site using the same name as a right-wing political blogger. The order demands the anonymous Twitter user reveal their identity and stop posing as Donal Blaney, who blogs at a site called Blaney's Blarney. The order says the Twitter user is breaching the copyright of Mr. Blaney. He told BBC News that the content being posted to Twitter in his name was 'mildly objectionable.' Mr. Blaney turned to Twitter to serve the injunction rather than go through the potentially lengthy process of contacting Twitter headquarters in California and asking it to deal with the matter. UK law states that an injunction does not have to be served in person and can be delivered by several different means including fax or e-mail."
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UK Court Order Served Over Twitter, To Anonymous User Posing As Another

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  • Re:Jurisdiction? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wizard Drongo (712526) <wizard_drongo@yahoo.[ ]uk ['co.' in gap]> on Friday October 02, 2009 @03:05AM (#29614455)
    Oh, you can deliver an injunction anywhere. Hell, if they were on the Moon, as long as they can receive it, you can deliver it. The correct question here is "if they're not in the UK, is there anything stopping them from just completely ignoring it?" and the answer would be "no". Of course, you next recourse then would be to either attempt to get the criminal courts involved, so you can have them extradited (doubtful in this case;the courts are rightly leery of getting involved in civil actions like this), or you go to the country they're in (e.g. the US) and get a judgement against them there, which depending on the locale can be easy or hard. In the EU, the court would be likely to take the UK's court decision into consideration, likewise the US, Canada and other commonwealth nations. China or Nigeria etc., not so much.
  • Re:Sued? (Score:3, Informative)

    by FatdogHaiku (978357) on Friday October 02, 2009 @03:32AM (#29614525)

    Nice rant but the twitterer is being served an injunction [wikipedia.org] and not being sued at all . . .

    Twitter is the delivery method, not named as a party to an action. If you mail someone an injunction, you are not serving an injunction on the post office, you are using the post office to serve a third party... same thing here.

    For what is thought to be the first time Twitter is being used to send a court order to a user of the Twitter service.

    Yet another reason not to use the thing.

  • Re:Jurisdiction? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 02, 2009 @03:42AM (#29614551)
    FYI, the corresponding verb for 'injuction' is 'enjoin'.
  • Re:Copyright? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Homburg (213427) on Friday October 02, 2009 @04:00AM (#29614611) Homepage

    The twitterer isn't actually using Donal Blarney's name, they're using the name of his blog. Maybe he's claiming the name of the blog as a trademark? Most of the news reports seem to be parotting the law firm [griffinlaw.co.uk], who say that the twitterer is "breaching the copyright and intellectual property of the blogâ(TM)s owner," which is some uselessly vague bollocks, unfortunately, as it doesn't say what the intellectual property involved actually is.

  • by ldrydenb (1316047) on Friday October 02, 2009 @04:20AM (#29614687)

    The twitter account in question is @blaneysblarney, which is the name of Mr Blaney's blog. The account photo is copied from Mr Blaney's blog. The first post of @blaneysblarney says "Comrades, I thought I would set up a more political twitter and keep my other twitter account for more personal stuff."

    So it seems he's trying to prevent someone using his photo and the name of his blog to pass off their words as his. I'm guessing he's asserting copyright on his photo and the name of his blog, which seems reasonable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 02, 2009 @04:20AM (#29614689)

    Actually, "Anonymous coward" is exactly the term the real Blarney actually used on his blog [blogspot.com], writing "I successfully obtained, thanks to the masterful advocacy of Matthew Richardson, in the High Court today compelling an anonymous coward to stop pretending to be me on Twitter and to reveal his or her identity.".

    But, then, wasn't this guy pretending to be me?

  • by Homburg (213427) on Friday October 02, 2009 @04:57AM (#29614797) Homepage

    What's stopping me from mailing, twittering and faxing a few million people injunctions?

    The same thing that's stopping you from sentencing a million people to 20 years in jail. Only a court can issue an injunction.

  • Re:Copyright? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 02, 2009 @05:12AM (#29614833)

    If the AC was copying sentances from the actual persons blog onto twitter, that would be copyright infringement.

  • publicity stunt (Score:5, Informative)

    by jipn4 (1367823) on Friday October 02, 2009 @05:24AM (#29614873)

    The law firm serving the order is Blaney's own law firm. The whole thing sounds like a publicity stunt. The reason Blaney isn't serving the order in California is because it would be worthless: you can't copyright a name, and people have a right to anonymous free speech and satire. For an anonymous author to use a slightly offensive variation of Blaney's name to make fun of him and his positions is precisely what US free speech laws are about.

  • Re:LEAVE ME ALONE (Score:2, Informative)

    by knappe duivel (914316) on Friday October 02, 2009 @05:36AM (#29614901)
    You must be new here
  • Re:Sued? (Score:3, Informative)

    by BKX (5066) on Friday October 02, 2009 @11:29AM (#29617327) Journal

    Dude, seriously? You do realize that getting a court to issue an injunction requires first filing suit. That's why the first sentence of the wikipedia article calls an injunction a remedy at equity. It's something that a court of equity can issue as part of a judgment to make the parties whole again.

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